Science suggests that humans have been using psychoactive strains of cannabis for at least 2,500 years – if not longer – and for nearly as long, humans have experimented with ways to extract its compounds into a wide range of formulations. The earliest cannabis extractions can be traced back to the 10th Century in the Middle East where hashish (or hash) is believed to have originated and become the mind-altering substance of choice over alcohol. Over the subsequent centuries, the techniques for making hashish evolved as cannabis use spread around the world. However, it wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s that advancements in science and technology would jumpstart a cannabis extract revolution in the West.
As a generation of homegrowers made cannabis more readily available across the U.S. and Canada, some people began to experiment with new ways to process the plant and extract its core compounds — either through trichrome harvesting or rudimentary cannabis infusions using butter or ghee on the stovetop or in slow cookers. Soon after, a few books were published on the subject while at the same time consumer-friendly extraction tools, such as the 1970s-era Isomerizer, were invented with the home extractor in mind